I’m Still Joyfully Killing Myself For Halloween, Among Other Habits

Welcome to November! Be sure to pray for some souls. I lost the rest of October in a blur of projects, the coolest being our Halloween costumes.

Teddy as Grunkle Stan, Me as Dipper, Tony as Grunkle Ford, Fulton as Soos, and Edie as Mabel. Also featuring Goldie and a Sascrotch.

We went with a family theme for the first time ever. It’s not uncommon for teens to trick or treat around here, but after heading out last year and seeing most of the neighbors on a nearby street celebrating in their driveways around fire pits, we decided to scale back on the trick or treating and host our own Halloween party. We picked out the Gravity Falls theme soon after since the boys had been catching up on all the episodes, and I thought it would be more fun vs scary. I started getting serious at the beginning of October looking at the Gravity Falls wiki and making notes. Tony got serious by looking at fog machines on Amazon.

We had friends come over, and some of the kids went out for a bit, but we basically stayed close to the fire, though when it started sprinkling, most of the kids moved inside to watch Gravity Falls. We had our largest turn out of trick or treaters since we moved here. I think the loud Halloween playlist blasting on the BlockRocker coupled with the copious amounts of fog and accompanying light show helped attract people (along with the candy, hot dogs, and soda). Not everyone was familiar with the show, but those that were enjoyed the props I’d made from cardboard and Goodwill finds. Now that Halloween is over, I’m having a hard time parting with my creations.

We also did our usual pumpkin carving and I created this Mr. Burns pumpkin at Fulton’s request.
At first I tried to use a Dremel to shave off the pumpkin skin but all that did was spray orange flesh all over me. I wound up finishing with a small cheese knife.

Creating Halloween costumes is something I love (carving pumpkins is a tradition I endure). I’m glad that I still get to do it even though two of my kids are away at school, and my three at home are all teenagers. I’m glad that local Comic Con type events also give me a reason to keep creating. Eventually, I suppose I’ll be the crazy old lady in my neighborhood dressing up by myself for Halloween, but I will OWN THAT IDENTITY.

As I’ve continued to go back through my blog archives, I realized there’s several things (in addition to the Halloween costumes) I’m still doing on a regular basis. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on the habits I couldn’t stick with, or the well intentioned plan I gave up on so I wanted to make a note of the things I still do that I first mentioned here on the blog years ago.

Adhere to a capsule wardrobe.

Who else remembers the capsule wardrobe craze? Every mommy blogger and proto-influencer was reducing their wardrobe to 37 carefully selected items. It was at the forefront of a new trend in minimalism. I dutifully jumped on board, and while I don’t stick to a strict number of pieces, I still keep a small wardrobe of clothes (especially compared to my daughters!) I still have this dress, except in five colors that I wear most days, and this dress in two colors (affiliate link) that I rotate in during the fall and winter. Those are my uniform 80% of the time. If you look back over my pictures from our trip to Europe, you’ll see what I mean. I have some other clothes I wear for working around the house, working out, and a few special dresses for church and speaking engagements. I have one main pair of boots I wear when it’s cold and one pair of sandals I wear when it’s warm. So overall I have no regrets about cleaning out my closet almost ten years ago.

Use the planner I designed.

In December 2014 I released a planner with weekly entries; my first self-published book. (I still sell them in my Shop.) I basically created the perfect planner for myself, added some funny stories and offered it for sale. Regardless of whether or not it clicked for other people, it still works for me and I still use that exact planner.

Prioritize sleep.

After reading Charles Duhigg’s popular book, The Power of Habit I came to the realization that many of my bad habits hinged on my daily exhaustion, fueled by my habit of either waking up too early or staying up too late to write. So I committed to getting eight hours sleep a night. Even though it is almost impossible for me to get eight uninterrupted hours of sleep, I still prioritize getting to bed early and it makes all the difference in how I feel. I wish I could be one of those people who can thrive on less sleep, I’d love to be more productive, but I’ve accepted everyone suffers when I’m an exhausted mess and it’s not worth it.

Use this template to plan my meals for the week.

I’ve tried to switch up my family’s diet to make it healthier in numerous ways, but while many of those diets fall by the wayside, I still use this ugly template to plan my weekly meals. I use the version without snacks since we haven’t had a designated snack time for years now. I keep thinking I should update this ancient post about meal planning and create a more beautiful template, but why mess with what works??

Use a large dry erase wall calendar.

I first bought a large wall calendar (affiliate link) to go in our new schoolroom at the old house and since then it’s been a staple in our kitchen (an extension of which has served as a school room in the old house and new house). I can’t imagine organizing our life without it. Even with only three kids at home, it fills up surprisingly fast no matter how open things look at the beginning of the month.

Those are the ones that jumped out at me while recently going through my archives. If you’ve been around here for awhile and have a question about anything else I’ve mentioned starting, let me know and I’ll share whether or not I’ve been able to stick with it.


  1. But where’s Waddles? ?
    Those costumes are amazing. You enthusiam for Halloween is admirable. My kids usually wear a variation of what we already own- hippy, hobo, etc. We got away with Harry Potter this year as we have the glasses already and more graduation gowns than I thought possible. (Though a daughter who is into knitting made her sibling a Griifindore scarf – it really made the outfit.)
    Do you still exercise? I know that’s one habit you’ve tried to develop over the years.
    Enjoy your November!

    1. Waddles definitely fell through the cracks. Edie was pushing for us to buy a large, $60 stuffed pig but I really didn’t want another stuffed animal. And then I forgot to make a 2D cardboard version.
      And I almost added a heading about exercising, but I know I’ve addressed that more recently in my New Year’s resolutions posts so I didn’t include it here. However, something that’s remained consistent is that I still hate running, no matter how many times I try to pick it up and convince myself otherwise. I also still take walks regularly, and thankfully right now I’m lifting at the gym three days a week (though that dropped off over the summer and any time over the last few years when things were crazy).

  2. Thank you for the dress link! About to try it! I’m very busty, but also short so unclear if they will work, but worth a try.
    Also, I have found 8 hours, particularly when interrupted, is not enough for me. I do try to catch up occasionally when some kids are at school. I would give yourself permission to try that. You may find the increase of productivity plus mental health makes up for any “lost” time.

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